— Ashley Peterson
Every time I would watch his eyes move up and down another woman’s body while I was standing right there, I felt invisible and disrespected. I know men are visually stimulated and all, but it wasn’t just a quick glance. He seemed to be literally undressing random women with his eyes and I would be so angry.
I got tired of elbowing him, complaining to him, and arguing with him about his roving eye, and how bad it made me feel and look. I was so sick of watching him out of the corner of my eye every time another attractive woman would walk by us. No matter how much I would fix myself up, be sweet to my ex, and do everything he asked, he still stepped out on me.
I couldn’t understand why.
I explained my gripes over and over again, and every single time he had an excuse. Usually, “Mr. Smooth-Talker” would twist and manipulate the details of the situation to make it seem like his interest in other women (or even blatant infidelity) was my fault.
I thank God for Jesus Christ, who saved me and transformed my thinking. I see things so clearly now that were undetectable back then.
This is what I was trying to explain to one of my sister-friends the other day when we were talking. She is in a relationship with a serial cheater like I once was, but she thinks she can change him. She grew up in the church and strayed away.
Now she’s living her life and going down the same path I walked down once before. I hate to see her headed in that direction. But I will continue to pray for her, be there for her, and talk to her when she wants to listen.
When I look back on my toxic relationship, I cringe to think about how low my self-esteem was and the kinds of things I did to try to keep that man.
I consistently ignored my wise Sweet Ma when she would tell me in her candid way, ”Chile, you can’t keep a man who don’t wanna be kept.”
I can shout amen to those words now, but I could not admit the truth to myself while I was still tied up in the relationship. Back then, whenever I heard those true words, they stung like alcohol in an open wound.
The truth hurts so badly, especially when you’re trying to live a lie.
And when you aren’t where you need to be with God, like I wasn’t at that time, you fight against what is right. You don’t want the wisdom of the word of God to invade your fantasy world. I was so messed up, bending over backwards for someone whose heart was full of deceit, lust, and stubbornness.
But I stayed right there.
When he would compare me to other women and tell me I should look and be more like them, I tried to live up to whatever his standard was for that day. What he liked and wanted would change so often, and I was right there trying to change to fit myself more into the mold he wanted.
Even sexually, I did things I didn’t like or want to do, just to please him. I would listen to my girlfriends who were equally as lost as I was telling me, “Girl, if you don’t do it somebody else will.”
So, out of fear of losing someone who was really already gone, I gave him my body when I knew he was having sex with other women. When he told me about the willingness of other women to do whatever pleased him, I worked to be more submissive and adventurous.
I didn’t know I was just a link in his chain of fools.
I was so naïve to believe I was “special” because I was the live-in “wifey” while they were just one night stands.
I thank God for deliverance today.
I am also believing for the deliverance of my friend and every other woman stuck in a relationship with an unfaithful man. By the power of God you can be free.
With God’s help you can begin seeing yourself for the beautiful creation you are. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14 NIV). Your eyes can be opened to see that you don’t need to change because you are enough.
Through the transforming power of the Word, if you allow it to take root in your heart, you will recognize that God created you to do great things. Ephesians 2:10 NIV tells us, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
That does not include changing yourself to try to keep a man that doesn’t want to be kept!
Again, you and I are wonderful creations chosen by God to do great things. And any man that doesn’t see that greatness in you doesn’t deserve you, plain and simple.
Do what I did. Release that unfaithful man, so you can embrace Jesus, the ever-so-faithful lover of your soul.
For more articles by Ashley Peterson, click here